How To Do Nothing


Yesterday was Thanksgiving, and as such you probably had to get up, get dressed, and actually go do something, most likely with family, friends, or close enemies. Today is an entirely different matter as it’s Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving and the incorrectly identified biggest shopping day ever (it’s a myth, don’t believe it!). I took some time last year to get you prepared for a Black Friday onslaught, but this year, no, I’d prefer not to do that. In fact this year I’d prefer not to do anything. If you’re like me and want to spend your Black Friday as a completely inanimate object, then this article is for you. This is How To Do Nothing.



This is your goal. Anything less than nothing is failure.

You may be surprised, but a lot of people don’t actually know how to do nothing. A startling number of people claim to be doing nothing, but they are in fact doing something. Here’s a helpful guide for you: Are you doing something that doesn’t actually benefit society or yourself in any way? Then congrats, you are doing nothing. If you are instead doing something that you’re actively ashamed of, then for shame indeed, you are doing something and that something is “actively worrying and feeling guilty.”


Far from nothing, experiencing guilt is a powerful form of doing something, so much so that people have lost their minds as a result (this does not happen from doing nothing). The first step to doing nothing is to therefore lose your feelings of guilt. Many will experience a pang of guilt when watching a silly anime, playing a goofy game, or generally doing something that many would scoff at. Do not fret! Instead, steel yourself to the slings and arrows of mankind. If you have found a way to watch DBZ without a hint of remorse, then you are well on your way to doing nothing!


Goku Sleeping

If anything can teach you how to do nothing for long periods of time, it's Dragon Ball Z, the master of doing nothing.

The next step may just be the most important step of all, though perhaps also not more important than the first step. Either way, it is an important step, and that step is to clear the way for doing nothing by doing a lot of somethings in preparation. A common misconception is that “nothing” can just happen. Not so! Nothing takes a fair deal of planning to the point of setting nothing in motion weeks or even months in advance. Be prepared to devote quite a lot of time and energy into doing nothing. Once you’re ready, we can move ahead.


How does one procrastinate? False, procrastinating is not as simple as just “putting something off.” The proper way to procrastinate is to get everything done early, thus leaving the same amount of time open to do nothing. However, the key difference is that if you procrastinate first, you will still be antsy and anxious to eventually get your work done, so that even if you’re trying to do nothing, you’ll still be thinking and stressing about having something creeping up that you will have to do, or else incur the consequences.


Professor Oak Nothing

Oak is a master of doing nothing. Follow his lead despite his encouragement to do otherwise.

If you take just one piece of advice from me today (I’d highly recommend taking all pieces of advice for the greatest effect) it is to go ahead and be extra productive right away to the point of people saying, “Wow, you sure are productive!” You’ll know you’ve done things correctly when someone randomly says this or a variation of the phrase (“You sure get things done a lot, huh?”), thus allowing you to move on to phase two:


Doing Nothing


Activities that constitute doing nothing can be as simple as watching TV, playing a video game, or napping. Did you think there was an “or they could be as elaborate as…” coming later on? Well you’d be wrong, because something more advanced like playing football, reading a book, teaching a child to love again, or managing to get over your crippling depression are very much activities people could mistake as “something” rather than “nothing.”


The key distinction comes down to the end result. Watching TV will most commonly leave you in a vegetative state while reading a book will force you to use your imagination. Playing football requires you to move around and thus increase your physical health while napping shuts everything down and puts most of your body functions on hold until further notice. A simple test is to ask, “Will this have any outwardly positive effects?” If your answer is “No,” congrats, it can qualify as nothing. If you even have to stop to think about the question, sorry, you’re doing something and have failed.


Square Enix Nothing

Ask Square Enix for some pointers. They practically wrote the book on doing nothing.

A tricky situation arises when video games are brought into the mix. Some games will actually increase your ability to problem solve, improve your hand-eye coordination, or strengthen your social skills. A good choice would therefore be just about any RPG, especially if you’ve already played it in the past. Were I to play Final Fantasy VII today, I could easily consider it as doing nothing since I’ve already beat it once and have no good reason to play it again as the story doesn’t interest me again. But shoot, just by saying that I’ve succeeded in instilling fanboy riots, and have thus done something. You can see just how fine the line is between nothing and something, yes?


Have you learned yet how to do nothing? I certainly have. In fact, I took my own advice and wrote this up yesterday just so that I didn’t have to do anything today. I’d wish you the best on your endeavor, but that’d certainly be doing something, now wouldn’t it?


About Author

Chris was the former Head Writer/Editor of Toy-TMA. He did a great job overseeing the site and getting new content published regularly. Always more than willing to respond to a comment or two, but pitiless with trolls! He has since moved on from TMA, and we wish him the best.

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